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Gray Mist On An Old Farm In October: Nellie?

 

It was a sunny late October day many years ago. After a Sunday dinner at Grandma's, we decided to drive about 25 miles into the countryside to visit a great aunt and uncle who lived on an old farm along a ravine. It was a lovely drive on a balmy afternoon. The leaves were crimson, gold and bronze; the smell of wood smoke was in the air.

We arrived at the farm about 2 p.m. Aunt Florence and Uncle John was happy to see us. Uncle John took my little brothers on a tour of the farm while Aunt Florence entertained my mother, grandmother and me with old scrapbooks of family photos and old letters and postcards.

We were all very interested in these old photographs. Like the farm itself, the photos dated back to the Civil War era. Many were taken about the time our ancestors moved to Wisconsin from New York State. That was the 1850s.

For the first time, I saw a photo of my great-great-grandfather, a union soldier who died in 1862. But it was a packet of letters signed "Cousin Nellie," and dated around 1910 that captured my imagination. "Did we really have a Cousin Nellie?" I asked Aunt Florence. Neither my mother nor grandmother had ever mentioned her.

Nellie, as it turns out, was the illegitimate daughter of one of my great-grandmother's half sisters. She was raised by Franny, my great-great-grandmother (widow of the Civil War soldier and Nellie's grandmother).

"We all loved her dearly, but she died so young," Florence told us. "She was only 20 at the time."

No one talked about her much, apparently. She died young and was not remembered. I felt this deeply, being 17 myself and a bit of a drama queen.

Florence and John fed us an early supper and then went out to the driveway to make our departure. Being a new driver, I had been promised I could drive home. I climbed behind the wheel immediately, anxious to get moving while the adults made their prolonged goodbyes and my little brothers ran around like crazy.

Sitting behind the wheel I saw a whirligig of smoke roll across the hood of the car like tumbleweed. I was not frightened, just stunned. No one was smoking; there was no fog. In fact, the sun was still out, just setting.

I've never understood this, and have even wondered if I could have imagined it. I forgot about it, and went on with my life.

Many years later, I began working on a family history, sorting through old pictures and dates and letters. A portrait of Nellie began to emerge: Hard-working with a sunny outlook and a sense of humor, Nellie was adored by all her family and friends. What might have happened to her life had she not died of consumption at age 20?

Although I live in a home Nellie has never visited, I felt her presence when I was working on my genealogy. "Ok, Nellie," I said one day. "If you are really here, help me get this house cleaned."

When I went upstairs later that day, my bedroom's hardwood floor had been swept with a pile of dust puppies sitting in the middle of the room. Coincidence? Maybe. But I like to think it was Nellie, always helpful.

And that whirligig of gray? I am convinced that was Nellie's sprit, pleased that so many years after her death she had been discovered by a teen-age girl.

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Comments about this paranormal experience

The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, BeaW, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

radish54 (1 stories) (49 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-10-31)
Great story and, I for one appreciated the fact that there was some craft and attention paid to the telling.

It seems that with an influx of bored children posting foolishness over the summertime, there has been a backlash that to me is equally unappealing. I am saddened by the coterie of judgmental people who now feel it their appointed duty to determine the veracity of every post, and at times tear it to shreds and then parade the tatters about incessantly.

There have been some stories I will grant you, that were so outlandish that they strained credulity. Afterwords the original poster either never replied or, worse yet created a deeper chasm of doubt and outrage through their replies. Often lamentable, sometimes laughable - but if there even needs to be a voice reining in the "BS", perhaps it should be a Moderator or even (!) an editor that vets stories before they hit the site.

I think that with the broad range of writing styles and maturity levels among the folks that post here - the chances of a person with a legitimate desire to seek assistance or information being vilified and publicly pilloried is quite high given this climate of behavior.

Given that we subscribers come here with a reasonable expectation we will be believed; as opposed to what one might encounter in a broader and more cynical general population of "normies", I would like to see a gentler handling of people all told. I am not wishing to throw a "blanket" over anyone's fun, and I do understand folks having frustrations with serial posters of pure immature bologna, but we are wearing the big people pants and should act a bit more in character.

I'm sorry to have hijacked your comments, Bea. I just needed to get this off my chest. Again, excellent post, and for my money. I believe Nellie acknowledged your discovery.
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-23)
stephyw2001,
Happy Belated Birthday!

BeaW,
I always give credit to good writing and I love to write also, so I understand where you are coming from. You being a journalist, I think you would have a higher standard of writing than most people. You should take crab from those who think your story is fake because the way you write. But just be prepared for lots of questions. Personally, I think your story is great and your writing skills are really good. I hope to here more from you.

P.S. Being a journalist, you probably can teach us some good writing tips!
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
 
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Otteer how did the Naughty Forties treat you then buddy? Lol 😆
otteer (8 stories) (398 posts)
+4
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
LOL, the dirty thirties! Never heard that one before cause I'm in my fabulous fifties. Qr is it fabulous forties and flabby fifties? I prefer fantastic fifties myself. Sensational sixties and sensual seventies, erotic eighties and no crap from you ninties! Ill just leave 100 alone. ❤
generalchaos (2 stories) (141 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
BeaW, I liked your story, too, as well as your style of writing. I tend to be a bit verbose myself, and was also taught to include lots of details.
The details are what really bring it to life for me (no pun intended).
Mountaineer (4 stories) (176 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Oooooooo I set a shining example! I like shiny things! Lol thanks for that TID my self confidence just got raised a few points.
BeaW (guest)
+4
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Yes, probably time to put this one to rest.

I'm trained as a journalist, and that means it has been pounded into my head to observe and record details and anything else that fleshes out a story. That means noting the aroma of burning leaves or dead fish and the sight of pink and salmon clouds stretched out across the sky in a December sunset.

So the details that struck people as phony come naturally to me. I worked all my life as a writer, and I've tried many different genres. I've never written a "ghost story" before, and this post was a test. Since it wasn't especially scary, I really wasn't counting on getting many comments at all.

The reaction really threw me! The story I wrote was pretty much straight old first-person reporting, and I've written hundreds of these stories over my career.

I guess the reaction here (specifically that so many details and descriptions rang false with a few of you) is indicative of the dying art and science of reporting. The Internet is killing journalism if it is no longer recognizable to readers!

The really sad part if that is we lose newspapers and trained reporters, we lose the light that shines on the bad decisions and mismanagement of elected officials, but that's another story for another venue.
Fanny (2 stories) (105 posts)
+5
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Bea, I really enjoyed your story. It was fabulous! However, I got through the first paragraph and thought "is this a fake? So many details". You're a beautiful writer with a knack for details and that's a nice change from some of the 15 year old posters who think a semi-colon was only invented so we could make a winkie face.;)

I've only been on this site for about a month, so I haven't had a chance the read most of the stories, but I've found that quite a few stories are obviously fake. Read The Stare.

This is a site mostly for people who believe in ghosts and spirits and don't take kindly to people posting fake stories to make a joke about something they so strongly believe in. Due to this, the majority of posters tend to be skeptics when a story has too many details or is obviously outrageous. That is not to say that I didn't enjoy your story, I did, but I also understand where MissyM and Nysa were coming from. Beautifully written story with lots of details... It sounds like it should be found in a published book not on a true account website. Honestly though can you blame them?

One last note. My father is in his early 50s and I've never considered him to be a senior. You're right, the site manager should have a little tact and maybe move the senior title to 65! After all if you live to be 100 years old then 50 years old IS middle age right?

Best,
Fanny ❤
MissyM (2 stories) (152 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Happy Belated Birthday Stephy! ❤
stephyw2001 (guest)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
I'm right there with you Missy! Just turned 28 on the 20th. I don't even look at the age unless the story seems completely (insert appropriate word here) then I look up to see the age (and usually find "author is a teenager".) 😜
MissyM (2 stories) (152 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
I have to disagree that most of the negative comments are from the "angry youth".

I have been reading the stories here for the past 2 months and have found that it's not a young vs. Old negative posters but a difference in opinion no matter what the age bracket.

I for one am coming unbearably close to my dirty thirties and would have been considered middle aged here up until a few days ago when the site manager changed the age from 30 to 40... Lol (YAY I get to be a young adult for another decade.) 😆
dustyisdead (2 stories) (90 posts)
 
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
geetha... I'm not harping on this tired argument anymore. It's beyond beating a dead horse. Have a great day.
geetha50 (15 stories) (986 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Dustyisdead,
I just would like to add that BeaW didn't know what O/P meant and she thought it was old person. Once MissyM explained what she meant by O/P and the rest of her comments, I think BeaW commented back to MissyM about her assumptions. I don't think it was a direct apology with a "I'm Sorry" (as you meant) but it was really close and I think that's acceptable.

You might said something nice about the story but what you said later on was down right disrespectful. If my mom ever found that I was disrespectful, she will skin me alive!

BeaW,
Many people liked your story and your your writing style. Hope to hear more stories from you.
LouSlips (10 stories) (979 posts)
+3
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
BeaW,
Don't let the angry youth scare you off. When all you are used to reading is mindless text abbreviations, you can be thrown off by actual writing talent. Maybe if the younger folks were forced to actually address each other face to face, like we did when we were kids, they could sort there problems out without situations escalating to newsworthy events.
Your events were very credible and your account was both entertaining and worthy of this site. Please post additional stories if you have them... Those of us with a developed attention span would be happy to indulge further.

Lou
BeaW (guest)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
Thanks to all who had positive things to say. You made my day.

I think the site manager should show some tact and use the phrase "older adult" or better define his age ranges. Teen, young adult, adult would be sufficient.

I've been reading other threads here for weeks, and I can see that there are some posters - frankly, mostly younger ones - who are highly critical of many posts and sometimes in a very insulting way. I can only guess that some of these people have serious anger issues and use the Internet to vent and make others feel bad. I've been online myself since 1997, and participate in many forums on a variety of issues.

To those who feel a narrative that reads like a story can't be true, I'd simply suggest more exposure to various styles of writing. Using descriptive language is not a red flag for untruths.

There are obviously people here from many backgrounds. Each will have a different story and a different style.

Appreciate the diversity, people!
MissyM (2 stories) (152 posts)
+3
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
BeaW
I am sorry you took offence to my comment. Actually I found your story so well written that I took it to be surreal (more of a complement) O/P means Original Poster and not OLD person... Lol
There to clairfie I was not having a bad day yesterday and wasn't not trying to be offensive in my last comment. I just felt that the "flowery" writing made my "red flag" go up. There is no way for anyone here to know that you write for a living. I did mention in my last comment that I found the story "lovely" with a nice ending. I %100 agree with Nysa's comments.

Welcome to the site. If you write more "flowery" stories I would love to read them. 😁
Cheers,
MM
champion (3 stories) (172 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-22)
BeaW- I liked your story and the way you write, nothing wrong with describing the atmosphere as this helps to understand the mood. October is always my favorite month of the year when the leaves are changing color and the days get shorter and sometimes require a long sleeve to be comfortable. Welcome aboard and I hope you join in on future discussions.

Champion
DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
Otteer: Thanks for the acknowledgement buddy, all the positive comments kind of get lost during a heated convo! 😆 😊

Dan
TruthInDarkness (4 stories) (259 posts)
-2
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
For the record, I wasn't referring to the OP misunderstanding. I'm looking at the "big picture".

Did anyone read this line before they read the story?

"By BeaW (1 stories) (8 posts) (the author is a senior adult) "

I know I'm not the most tactful person here. Still, be observant and use some tact!

This is my final OT (off topic) comment under this story. I've said what I needed to say. Take it with a grain of salt or take it to heart. That's your choice.
Nysa (4 stories) (685 posts)
+3
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
Thanks for adding those details about the smoke that made it much clearer for me. I know what you mean about the age thing, we 30-somethings just begged the site owner into changing our status from "middle aged." The older I get the younger I think that age sounds. 😁
otteer (8 stories) (398 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
ah, missed javs, darkness and mountaineer's post. Well said guys. (ladies)
dustyisdead (2 stories) (90 posts)
-1
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
[at] truthindarkness... Seriously? For the last time, no one insulted her because of her age. She thought "OP" was meant as an insult to "old people".
TruthInDarkness (4 stories) (259 posts)
 
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
What happened to respect for your elders?

I'm only 40. Go ahead and dump on me if you like, but have a little respect for people who are old enough to be your grandparents! Follow Mountaineer's shining example. I think he's less than half my age, but he shows a lot more respect than a few of you do.

BeaW - Don't let the few bad apples get you down. I've had my share of problems here too from a few people, but I'm not letting those people run me away. I think the best thing to do is ignore them. I know. Believe me I know. That is a difficult task! It's natural to want to respond. However, that's only going to continue to provoke them.
dustyisdead (2 stories) (90 posts)
-1
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
[at] mountaineer lol, I actually believed her story, and I liked it and how it was written. I was just explaining to her why the other two people why that style of writing made it unbelievable to them.
Whatever though, I'm over it. Although I'm sure javelina has some more insults to sling.
otteer (8 stories) (398 posts)
+1
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
When you post right off the bat you don't believe a story, what kind of response do you expect from the writer? Geez people, if you don't believe a story... DONT POST ON IT. I, for one am a crappy writer but have had many paranormal experiences. I write my memories of these experiences in a way that suits me at the time. No one should ever have to defend their writing style on this site, good or bad!

Bea, keep posting. Its not often we are treated with a story that is sweet, and well written.

This comment from dustyisdead is hidden due to low rating. Show comment

DARKNESS (3 stories) (2022 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
BeaW: I enjoyed your story and the details provided aswell. Expect to receive positive and negative comments on this site not everyone thinks the same especially when religious matters are involved, which your story is an exception too! 😊 I think the spirit of Nellie has visited you, and no doubt as you mentioned was thankful of your acknowledgement of her.

Thank you for sharing.

Dan
Javelina (4 stories) (3749 posts)
+2
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
[at] dustyisdead,
How about not putting so much effort into being a total Richard Cranium, huh?
No one is impressed, and far too many are holding back even commenting on your stick up the butt attitude.
And no, I have nothing nice to say to you. Happy now? No condescension here for you, just a cranky old broad (me) who doesn't give a rats a$$!

Jav
Mountaineer (4 stories) (176 posts)
+3
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
Can we call a truce? All this fighting back and forth gives me indigestion. The points have been made: Dusty, you don't like the poster. BeaW, you want to defend your story. There is nothing wrong with defending your story, as long as you don't scream "GET OUT!" at people who refuse to believe, which you haven't done. Dusty, I personally don't see where the o/p was "jumping down people's throats," but you'll see what you want to see. I'm not going to act like I'm some ancient wiseman because I've been on this site for a month or so, but I have seen people defending their stories a lot more violently than this. Lets all just take a breath and cool our heels, eh? And BeaW, don't be driven off the site by a few people who think your story is so well written it sounds like a fiction tale. Take it as a compliment! Be proud that you've written a story so well that it looks suspicious for standing out in the crowd.
dustyisdead (2 stories) (90 posts)
-3
6 years ago (2011-09-21)
I'm not your sweetie, so you can keep your condescending asides.

And yes, you did jump down their throats. Again, a simple apology to the people you jumped to conclusions about would have sufficed.

And if by "debunked", you mean stating the obvious, then I've "debunked" 2 people who clearly put fake stories on here. But since you know my posting history so much, you would have seen that, no?

Every other post I've made has been respectful and supportive on here. I've never "dissed" or insulted anyone on this website, you may want to check again.

Glad to see your "experiment" on here is over. Whatever that means.

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